For most people most of the time thought is speech. Korzybski pointed out that sanity and intelligence were not binary conditions. You are not sane or insane – You are somewhere on a spectrum from functional to non-functional. One way to be saner and more intelligent is to think more clearly in better language. Don’t use multivalent words whose meaning can be conflated. Use more precise terms. ‘Jerry is crazy.’ is prone to misunderstanding. ‘Jerry is unconcerned about social conventions.’ actually conveys real meaning and does not not leave the impression that Jerry is taking orders from disembodied voices. Do not confuse US Dollar 1950 with Canadian Dollar 2015. They are not closely related.
If imprecision of thought makes us less able to understand and deal with the world. Thinking in more precise terms makes us smarter and more certain of what we know. Korzybski promised to make his students saner by these methods.
[At this point my mind rebels. How can I not discuss the tragic life of Count Alfred Korzybski? He was stranded in the USA when revolution and war ended his nation while he was here on a government mission. He was too old to enlist in our military and already sworn to a foreign ally which was in chaos. He developed his ideas observing in mental hospitals in New York. He had an influential if sometimes self-indulgent movement. After his death his ideas were taken by unworthy groups. Some simplified his ideas to uselessness and used them as a centerpiece of a trumped-up religion. Others used his methods not to educate, but to manipulate. One group reveres his ideas – irrationally – but can neither move nor inspire anyone. While I was writing this, I came across a parallax view. ]
The proximate motivation for this entry is a realization. An effect of ‘political correctness’ is to use ridiculously convoluted speech foisted upon us by the PL crowd. Is it possible to think coherently using these irrational definitions? I maintain that the use of PL terms is not mind control but the reduction of intelligence. A negative use of sensible methods. Sort of a neurolinguistic lobotomy.
A corollary is that those who push us to use PL speech either do not think in it themselves – and will be prone to therefore make gaffes – or they will prove to be the most impaired by irrational mental programming.
My humble hypothesis.